The Rev. David Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for hungry people. He has been president of Bread for the World for 15 years, leading large-scale and successful campaigning to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcoming hunger and poverty. Before that, he served at the World Bank for 15 years, overseeing large projects and driving innovations to make the Bank more effective in reducing poverty.
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Bread for the World members write personal letters and emails and hold meetings with their members of Congress. Working through churches, campuses, and other organizations, Bread members engage more people in advocacy. It is one of the largest organizations in the world dedicated to building the political will to end hunger.
Bread for the World has an impressive record of achievement under Beckmann's leadership. Bread for the World led the U.S. legislative coalition of the Jubilee movement to reduce the debts of low-income countries. Since 2000, the organization has helped to double U.S. funding for poverty-focused development assistance. Bread for the World has also helped to win increases in nutrition assistance for food-insecure people in the United States since the late 1990s - to a total that now exceeds $50 billion a year.
Beckmann is also president of Bread for the World Institute, which does research and education on hunger-related issues, including agriculture and trade policy. He founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse U.S. institutions - Muslim and Jewish groups, corporations, unions and universities - in building political will to end hunger. When the U.N. agencies in Rome launched the International Alliance Against Hunger, they used the U.S. Alliance as one model for national alliances against hunger around the world. Beckmann also proposed what has become the More and Better Campaign, an international coalition of NGOs that work for more and better funding for agriculture, rural development and nutrition. In 2005, Beckmann delivered the prestigious McDougall Lecture at the biannual meeting of the FAO Conference.
Beckmann earned degrees from Yale, Christ Seminary, and the London School of Economics, and five universities have awarded him honorary doctorates. He is a clergyman as well as an economist. He has written many books and articles, including Transforming the Politics of Hunger and Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World. Beckmann speaks Spanish. He has lived in Bangladesh and Ghana, overseen projects in Bolivia and Ecuador, and visited more than 70 countries.
Beckmann is a 2010 World Food Prize laureate, the Nobel Prize equivalent for food and agriculture.